Full Hands

Dear Beautiful Daughters,

I remember going places in our small town when our children were little. We had four children in four and one-half years and it seemed that a consistant comment I heard over and over was-  “you sure have your hands full!”  Our three daughters each have three children of their own now and whenever I go places with any one of them people make the same comment – ” Are all those yours? You sure have your hands full!”  Sometimes it is said with a positive tone of voice and a smile, sometimes a person says it in a voice filled with horror. I smiled and tried to respond in a positive way, even when I am felt like my hands were so full that I was about to drop something, and I don’t mean one of the children. 

Is is better to have full hands or empty ones? I will never forget the evening I went to visit my dear lifelong  friend Carol who had just lost her precious little boy in a tragic accident. We sat on a bed crying together and Carol said, “I just want to hold him again. My arms feel so empty.”  Only God’s love can fill that empty place that a mother feels over the loss of a child whether through miscarriage, death, or separation. Our Heavenly Father who created these children may take them away.

Having our ” hands full”  with children and mothering is a privilege that God entrusts us with for how ever long He chooses. That may mean our hands are full with one child, two children, three, etc.  Even when we know that our children are  gifts from God,  there are those times when we feel overwhelmed and at the end of our resources. I find that when I feel that sense of despair it is usually caused by unrealistic expectations or a sense of resentment because MY plans have been interrupted.

Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  Our culture devalues the simple yet necessary tasks that mothers use their hands for each and every day. Tasks like changing diapers, fixing healthy meals, reading stories, coloring together, building with blocks or going on walks together can seem like intrusions.

If we can understand that using our hands as God’s instruments of service to our children is really an act of serving our Father, then our full hands will be a blessing, not a burden.

What are some positive, yet gentle responses a mother can make to those who comment “Wow, your hands are sure full!” ?  Please share ideas you any have.

with love and thankfulness for the blessings you are in my life,
Gayle Woody

8 thoughts on “Full Hands

  1. Abigail says:

    Two or three times when I have been out shopping an older woman has said to me, “you have really been blessed!” which is a nice change from the standard “you have your hands full.” I usually say “yeah” and smile. A better response may be “yes, we have been really blessed.” I would like to hear others ideas too.


  2. Marcia Hardy says:

    Reminds me of the song we sang in Sunday school…”My cup is full and running over.”


    • gayle woody says:


      I remember that song, too. Abigail is blessed to have you so close and so supportive. We are blessed with these precious grandchildren, aren’t we?


  3. Linnea says:

    First, I love this blog!
    Second, I get that all the time too. “My you have your hands full” or “Wow, you are busy” and on one or two occasions I have heard “You are truly blessed”, and I love it, and want to shout “YES!!!” And the times when I feel like i have my hands full instead of being blessed, I often think of aunt Carol and I have to take a moment to be thankful for those moments of having my hands full because we never know how short the time is.


  4. Mrs BigTopp says:

    I have a good friend who fosters and has 5children under 6.
    She is often commented upon and to – and I am blessed to have heard her reply many times.
    “You must have your hands full” or “You must be busy”
    She always smiles and replies gently,
    “Praise God.”

    I thought it would be awkward for those she meets, and sometimes it is. When I asked her about it – she told me.
    She looks at her children and she praises God their creator and sustainer.
    Why should she then reply in any other way?

    it has left an impression on me…


    • What a lovely, meaningful response. It impresses me as well that the mother herself is reminded with each response that her children are created in the image of God. Thank you for passing this on to us.


  5. Carol says:

    Gayle, what a gift you have for putting thoughts into word!! I am so blessed to have had a “quiver full” of children!! I think as I get older I realize even more what a blessing our children are and how gracious God is to have entrusted them to us for however much time we have with them. Love ya


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